In 1609, Captain Henry Hudson led a mixed Dutch and English crew on board the Dutch jaght d'Halve Maen into a broad, uncharted river, seeking a northwest passage across the New World. Hudson's exploration of the lush wilderness surrounding this river valley and interaction with its native peoples would lead directly to the foundation of the New Netherland Colony and later New York State, forever shaping the future of the river that now bears his name.
Today, we on the Replica Ship Half Moon again commemorate the original d'Halve Maen's Voyage of Discovery with our annual re-creation of this historic event. We too carry a multinational crew, with student sailors drawn from the greater New York Capital Region and Bornego College in the Netherlands. As we follow in Hudson's wake, our new crew will study the environmental sciences all around us.
2014 marks a special occasion for the Half Moon. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the replica ship's launching in Albany NY, and not just the 15th annual Fall of Voyage of Discovery, but 15 continuous years of wide-ranging educational programs. Since the first Voyages of Discovery in 1999, hundreds of students have joined our crew, hailing not just from the greater New York capital region but also from schools as far afield as the Netherlands and the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers, such as the Connecticut River Academy at Goodwin College. During that period, thousands more students and members of the public have engaged in dockside tours, classroom activities, and other special programs.
According to our current research, the modern Replica Ship Half Moon has now outlived the operational lifespans of the both the original d'Halve Maen and the 1909 replica Half Moon — combined! We eagerly look forward to introducing countless more students to the ecology and history of New Netherland's rivers over many years yet to come.